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PLoS One. 2015 Jun 17;10(6):e0128443. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0128443. eCollection 2015.

Control of Protein Activity and Cell Fate Specification via Light-Mediated Nuclear Translocation.

Author information

1
Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States of America.
2
Department of Biology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States of America; Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States of America.
3
Department of Pharmacology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States of America.
4
Department of Cell Biology & Physiology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States of America; Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States of America.
5
Department of Pharmacology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States of America; Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States of America.
6
Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States of America; Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States of America.

Abstract

Light-activatable proteins allow precise spatial and temporal control of biological processes in living cells and animals. Several approaches have been developed for controlling protein localization with light, including the conditional inhibition of a nuclear localization signal (NLS) with the Light Oxygen Voltage (AsLOV2) domain of phototropin 1 from Avena sativa. In the dark, the switch adopts a closed conformation that sterically blocks the NLS motif. Upon activation with blue light the C-terminus of the protein unfolds, freeing the NLS to direct the protein to the nucleus. A previous study showed that this approach can be used to control the localization and activity of proteins in mammalian tissue culture cells. Here, we extend this result by characterizing the binding properties of a LOV/NLS switch and demonstrating that it can be used to control gene transcription in yeast. Additionally, we show that the switch, referred to as LANS (light-activated nuclear shuttle), functions in the C. elegans embryo and allows for control of nuclear localization in individual cells. By inserting LANS into the C. elegans lin-1 locus using Cas9-triggered homologous recombination, we demonstrated control of cell fate via light-dependent manipulation of a native transcription factor. We conclude that LANS can be a valuable experimental method for spatial and temporal control of nuclear localization in vivo.

PMID:
26083500
PMCID:
PMC4471001
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0128443
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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